Swimwear designer Sian Gabbidon is this year’s Apprentice – The Guardian

Swimwear designer Sian Gabbidon is this year’s Apprentice – The Guardian

The 26-year-old will get a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar after winning BBC series

Sian Gabbidon was told she ‘had great aptitude and a talent for design’ by Lord Sugar.

Sian Gabbidon was told she ‘had great aptitude and a talent for design’ by Lord Sugar.
Photograph: BBC

Swimwear fashion brand owner Sian Gabbidon has won this year’s series of The Apprentice.

The 26-year-old said she was left speechless after being named by Lord Sugar as the winner, receiving a £250,000 investment from the tycoon.

The Leeds-based entrepreneur defeated nut milk drink brand owner Camilla Ainsworth in the boardroom in the final after presenting their business plans to more than 200 experts at London’s City Hall.

Gabbidon said: “I can’t believe it’s happened. Not that I didn’t think I could win it but it’s just real. It’s crazy. I’m absolutely over the moon.”

She added: “We went in guns blazing, both of us, we both said things about each other’s businesses, but at the end of the day I did come in this to win. I’m sure Camilla will be massively successful in whatever she does.

“For me, I wouldn’t have entered the show if I didn’t think I had it in me to win. I would say that it is very easy to underestimate how hard the tasks are. I’ll never, ever judge any of the other candidates. It’s so hard to put yourself through the tasks.

“[Working with Lord Sugar] is the biggest challenge I have ever had in my life. There’s no way I’m going to let the biggest challenge take me out. I am nervous but I’m ready.”

Runner-up Ainsworth, 22, said: “Although I would have loved to win, I’m just really proud of myself as the youngest ever finalist of The Apprentice. It takes a while to sink in but immediately I was kind of in fight mode. As a person I am very positive and optimistic. I gave myself a good few seconds to be quite gutted then I thought, ‘Right, reset and go again’.”

In the final episode, the pair welcomed back the contestants Sugar had previously fired to help them create a video advert and billboard for their companies. They then had to give a pitch to a group of industry experts, who shared their thoughts on the business plans with Lord Sugar.

Ainsworth said appearing in front of the panel, which included leading business people from the fashion and health drink worlds, had been a frightening experience.

After a final impassioned pitch from both candidates, Sugar made his decision. He told them: “Camilla, I’ve said to you earlier on, I find you a big risk, a very, very big risk. Having said that, there is a growing market here.

“Sian, it’s a crowded market – that’s a big, big concern for me, but you are an expert in your field, and you are a good designer, there’s no question of that.

“I think that yours is a growing market [Camilla], and yours is a massive market [Sian], it’s very tough for me to make a decision. But on reflection, Sian, you have a great aptitude and a talent for design – you’re going to be my business partner.”


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